By Dylan at Repairaid
Almost two years on, the Grenfell Tower tragedy, which claimed 72 lives and caused untold anguish, is still making headlines in the UK.
Although the focus of the investigation into Grenfell has been largely on the issue of the cladding, the fire which destroyed the building in London’s Kensington, is thought to have been caused by a faulty Hotpoint FF175BP fridge freezer in a flat on the fourth floor.
In a recent report, it was revealed that faulty kitchen appliances are responsible for 60 home fires in the UK every week. Despite this alarming figure, few people give any thought to the complexities of their fridge freezer once it’s purchased and installed. Whilst we invest time and money on the maintenance of other equipment such as boilers and radiators little attention is paid to our expensive and potentially dangerous kitchen appliances.
Backing safety first
It may sound like stating the obvious but, refrigeration units need to be kept cool in order to function properly. This is achieved by using insulation – in the case of fridge freezers, this takes the form of a protective backing made from metal, aluminium, laminate or plastic, depending on the brand. Recent reports have shown that plastic backing in particular poses a considerable risk in terms of flammability. This has become an issue to the extent that well-known watchdog, Which? has published a list of 250 appliances that it considers high risk for UK consumers.
What should I do if I have an ‘at risk’ appliance?
First, don’t panic – although these appliances do pose some risk, the potential for fire is still relatively low. However, if your appliance is not performing efficiently, or is making an unusual noise, it’s best to unplug it immediately and consult a professional.
Cold comfort – keeping your appliance safe
It goes without saying that, if you think your appliance may be faulty, you should call in professional help immediately, however, there are a few things you can do to minimise the risk of fire:
Don’t block vents, and keep areas around your appliances
clean to ensure there is no build up of grease or dust.
- Plug any refrigeration units directly into the wall, rather than using an extension lead.
- Smoke alarms should always be fitted in any property, and a heat alarm in your kitchen can give you a warning without being set off by fumes from your cooking.
- Keep it away from escape routes – in the event that your fridge were to create a fire, you’ll want to make sure you have a way out.
- Register your appliance with the manufacturer in order to be kept informed of any possible issues.
- Although refrigerant is useful in extracting heat from fridges and freezers, it is flammable and so should be used carefully in small quantities. Avoid refrigerant leaks by avoiding using any sharp instruments for defrosting.
See the full Repair Aid guide HERE.
With any household appliance, it’s a good idea to have it checked regularly by a professional in order to ensure that it’s working efficiently and, more importantly, safely. London based Repair Aid is the go-to expert for repairs and maintenance of household goods including ovens, fridge freezers, dishwashers and more. Repair Aid’s team of dedicated engineers deliver expertise, outstanding service – and a 12 month guarantee on all domestic appliance repairs.
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